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The furniture giant IKEA is donating $62m (£38m) to the biggest refugee camp in the world.

Posted: Wednesday 28 September 11, 9.17am GMT

The charitable arm of the furniture giant IKEA is donating $62m (£38m) over the next three years for people in the Dadaab refugee camp in Kenya; the biggest refugee camp in the world. In past months its population has swollen by 150,000, following drought and famine in the Horn of Africa. The camp now holds some 440,000 people, despite only being designed for 90,000.

The scale of the challenge in the region is vast: the UN estimates that 12.4 million people are in need of humanitarian assistance in Somalia, Ethiopia, Kenya and Djibouti. The famine in Somalia has killed tens of thousands of people and put millions at risk. This demonstration of corporate philanthropy at such a large scale offers the potential to be life-changing. The IKEA Foundation is the second biggest donor to the current drought and famine after the USA. IKEA’s generosity should be celebrated and warmly welcomed – and serve as a wakeup call to others who have been slow in their response.

The money from the IKEA Foundation will be used to expand emergency relief and assist up to 120,000 people, said the UNHCR. The funds will go through the UN refugee agency, which said it was the largest private donation it had received in its 60-year history.

This humanitarian gesture by the IKEA Foundation comes at a critical time

said Antonio Guterres, UN High Commissioner for Refugees.

The crisis in the Horn of Africa continues to deepen with thousands of people fleeing Somalia every week. We are extremely grateful. Help like this can’t come a moment too soon.

In a statement, chief executive officer of the IKEA Foundation Per Heggenes said the donation was a “bold but natural extension of IKEA Foundation’s longstanding commitment to making a better everyday life for children and families in need throughout the developing world”.

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